The “Disaster Communication Collaboration” panel was held at Karadeniz Technical University (KTU). prof. dr. KTU Faculty of Medicine Psychiatry Faculty member dr. Evrim Özkorumak Karagüzel, expert psychologist Serra Hacısalihoğlu and AKUT Trabzon leader Köksal Ofluoğlu were present as speakers. Giving the opening speech of the panel, Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences International Relations Assoc. Dr Ayça Eminoğlu stated that disasters are a fact of nature and said: “After earthquakes and floods, we saw again that disasters are not something we can escape from. It is a fact of nature. In this regard, we should always be careful in every possible way before, during and after the disaster. The great disaster we have experienced has also shown us that we are very unprepared in many ways. First of all, we felt the need to create this panel in accordance with the demands coming to our center for coordination, assistance, post-traumatic and subsequent process in this direction, and the needs we have observed.
“It’s important to provide family and social support from people rather than professionals”
Attending the panel as a speaker, KTU Faculty of Medicine Department of Psychiatry Lecturer Dr. Evrim Özkorumak Karagüzel said in a statement to the press: “Actually, psychological intervention is something that comes at a later stage. First of all, it is important to support people socially and physically. In addition, after this support, psychological support can be given to people. The emergence of some psychological complaints after such a disaster is not seen as a very abnormal and unexpected situation. They are considered normal reactions to an abnormal situation. Therefore, follow-up rather than intervention is recommended. However, if we have high-risk groups or groups that we see as high-risk in terms of symptoms, it is recommended that we follow them. In general, being with the people affected by the disaster, listening, trying to understand, allowing them to share their feelings. It’s up to us to let them tell as much as they want and to emphasize that we are there for them. It is important to provide people’s family and social support before professionals. All this is what needs to be planned as an organization,” he said.
“All you have to do in the early stages is stand next to you and listen”
Serra Hacısalihoğlu, KTU Medical Faculty, Department of Psychiatry Specialist Psychologist, emphasized that anyone can apply psychological first aid and said: “In other words, anyone who receives this training can apply it. That does not have to be a specialist or doctor. Being a volunteer is enough. The main thing should be to try to help the victims of the disaster deal with the problems related to their lives in the first place. In the early stages of problems, they generally try to make it easier for them to cope with the stress and psychological problems they experience in these areas of shelter, survive and try to put them in order.
Hacısalihoğlu pointed out that it is helpful for everyone to have knowledge of psychological first aid and said, “Psychological first aid is more popular in this day and age. He now gives this training in associations and institutions. That is absolutely necessary in a country that has experienced such a disaster. We don’t know how to act in the first place. We may not know the right intervention for people experiencing such a situation. We can say the wrong things. So it’s good that everyone knows. There are sentences that should not be said. For example, a sentence such as ‘look, you survived, you were lucky, what more could you want’ should not be said to a survivor. In fact, all you need to do in the early stages is just stand next to you and listen. When we say we intervene too much, we see that as saying too much. Just listening at that moment is actually a great support. At that time, if his need is to find water and food, to be with them in this process. Therefore, only supporting vital things should be the goal in this process.”
“It is beneficial for search and rescue teams to get psychotherapy after work”
AKUT Trabzon leader Köksal Ofluoğlu underlined that search and rescue teams should also receive psychotherapy after work, saying: “Search and rescue teams are people too. They can be influenced by the work they do. It would be good for them to receive psychotherapy after their studies. We recommend it to all our volunteer friends. We practice it ourselves,” he said.